Alright alright, I’ll get the generic statement out of the way first.
Yes, your cost of living depends on your spending habits, your current debt and any credit card payments. It also depends on what you would find acceptable and what you would consider to be a sacrifice.
I have a unique perspective because I’ve lived in Chiang Mai Thailand, Ratchaburi Thailand and now Bangkok Thailand. All three are totally different and it allows for me to give a pretty clear comparison.
With that out of the way I’m going to tell you that you’ll need 50,000 Baht per month to comfortably live in Bangkok Thailand. You’ll need 40,000 Baht to live in Chiang Mai and 35,000 baht to live in any random Thai town.
50,000 Baht is roughly 1,400-1,500$ depending on the exchange rate. Now this is to say comfortably for single man with no debt. I normally spend 40,000-45,000 Baht a month living in Bangkok myself.
At this amount you can pay for rent, pay for the gym, have money to go out Friday and Saturday nights and eat whatever you want without having to worry too much about costs.
Let’s break it down by major expenses:
- Nights out
Rent in Bangkok
One thing that is great about Bangkok is that you can still find a decent apartment for cheap or you can live in luxury.
Cheap room in Bangkok
You can find rent for as low as 6,000 – 12,000 Baht. These sorts of rooms are typically older and deep down the road. This will become annoying because you’ll need a motorbike taxi to get to and from your place every time you want leave.
You’ll also be surrounded by lower earning locals, not to say that there is anything wrong with this, but it’s nice being around people who are doing interesting things with their lives. You’ll also be living in a place that is literally just a room with a bathroom and a balcony. You won’t have any amenities like a pool or gym typically (though it's possible at the 10-12K range).
For the value, I would pass on this as you can get a lot more for your money if you’re willing to pay just a bit more.
Mid range price for Bangkok
The sweet spot, overall the best value for your money. I liken it to smartphones when I tell anyone about how much they should spend on rent. Sure, you can get a dirt cheap smartphone.
But so what? Will it be nice? No. Will it be limiting? Yes. Can you do better if you’re willing to just pay a little bit more? Sure.
For 13,000 - 20,000 Baht you can live in a lovely, modern condo or apartment building with amenities like security, a location right next to the sky train, a gym and a rooftop pool:
Pool and view from my current place in Bangkok that cost me $350 in rent and $100 in utilities:
This is why I go back to the smartphone analogy. If you’re willing to pay 5-6 thousand Baht a month more you’ll get a huge upgrade in your quality of living. Granted, at this price point the rooms are still small at 30-33 square feet but that is the way if goes in most cities.
I personally love where I live. The local area is nice and having this pool area is wonderful as a place to just escape to instead of being stuck in some cheap room far away from the BTS.
For 21,000+ Baht a month you can get some pretty amazing quality. For the price of what your rent would be in America, you can live in the lap of luxury in Bangkok Thailand. Want to shell out 120,000 Baht (4,000 USD) for a penthouse?
Well in Bangkok you can! The jump in price also brings with it a much larger living space. Most people would be happy with a mid range apartment but if you got the cash flow to go big, why not?
Rent is one aspect, your other major expense will be electricity. Water is honestly negligible and internet will set you back 600 Baht. Electricity will cost you around 1,000 Baht if you’re in a condo because you’re paying the standard government rate.
For apartments it’s not unheard of to pay double that. In my old apartment in Ratchaburi Thailand I was paying 4,500 Baht for rent and 2,200 for electric.
To have your room cleaned will cost 500-800 baht if you want maid service.
Food in Bangkok
You will need 500-700 Baht per day for food (15-20 USD). Food is simply more expensive in Bangkok and it was a bit of a price shock for me coming from Ratchaburi Thailand where coffee is still 40 baht and you can get an amazing Thai dish for 35 baht.
Not in most places in Bangkok. Prices are typically about double. Still affordable, but you will need to pay a bit more. Your best bet would be to find a few local places you like, a food court (food courts are pretty nice in Thailand, don’t hate on it until you see it) and to cook your own food.
What I normally do is I’ll head over to a super market and load up on salads from the salad bar for a few days. Then I’ll have two to three meals a day. I’ll eat at a local place and I’ll have the salad and fruit I stocked up on.
For cost you’ll need to budget 500 to 700 Baht a day for food roughly. I know, some people say you can get by on 300 Baht but this is nonsense. Unless you’re goal is to eat low quality processed food.
I’m also factoring in that you’ll eat out at a proper restaurant a few times a week, NOT everyday.
As for beer, well I’m not a big beer drinker and I prefer dark beer, stouts and ales. As such, Thailand pretty much sucks for me because beer here is expensive and it’s that piss yellow pale pilsner style I don’t enjoy.
Gym membership in Bangkok
A gym membership will typically cost around 2,400 Baht (70 USD) per month. This is the price for a modern gym with a nice locker room and excellent equipment. Great for networking with quality expats as well.
In Ratchaburi I could pay 50 baht to go to the government gym or 100 Baht to go a more modern, fully equipped gym. I was spending about 1,200 Baht per month.
I have no idea why something as simple as a gym is so expensive in Bangkok but just be prepared to spend a bit of cash. There seems to be no middle ground either in Bangkok. While my condo complex does have a small gym and it’s great if you’re looking to use the treadmill or do some pull ups, it simply lacks the big boy equipment a manly man like me needs (I’m joking).
If you’re in shape take pride in your body, you’ll need a gym membership.
Nights out in Bangkok
For Bangkok, you can hit up some bars and clubs for only 1,000-3,000 Baht (30-90 USD).
The value for your money with regards to going out is very high. Bangkok has many excellent bars and clubs and for a low price you can enjoy a level of luxury you can not back in America.
The downside of Bangkok is that because nightlife is so easy to access, you may find yourself going out 3 times a week on dates and out with friends. So just have the discipline to be responsible.
You will need to budget 50-100 Baht per day (2-3 USD) at a minimum. Again, it depends on where you live and where you work and how often you ride the BTS and take taxis.
Do you need a bike in Bangkok? No and I would not suggest you ride a motorbike in Bangkok. It’s stressful, not fun and the police are corrupt. In Chiang Mai or any little Thai town? Sure go for it.
You can get around easily with taxis, motorbike taxis and the BTS sky train system. Transportation is cheap, but it’s definitely an added cost when compared to living in a random Thai town like Ratchaburi Thailand where I was able to get around everywhere by my motorcycle.
Taxis start at 35 baht and increase in price depending on distance. The BTS costs 15-60 baht per trip depending on distance.
So if you’re going to want to travel to work or just get out of your room and go somewhere, it’s going to cost you. To keep costs low, you can always live in a place that is a little nicer and you won’t feel the urge to always have to get out and go somewhere else. I know I’m happy to spend a few days out of the week in my local area.
Last I want to mention Grab. You won't be able to sign up to Grab using an American number like I have with Google Fi. I still have my old Vietnamese number and was able to use Grab in Thailand with no issue.
This app is a ride share app and is a slightly more expensive than a standard taxi, however it's more convenient and a life save at 1 am coming out of a bar or club where Thai taxi drivers won't turn on the meter for non-Thais and instead want to overcharge for the price to get home by 3x-4x.
You can avoid this nonsense by simply getting a Thai phone number and then downloading the Grab app.
Final Thoughts for How Much it Costs To Live in Bangkok Thailand
This is why everyone always says it depends. Yea if you eat out everyday, pay for an expensive place and are constantly traveling around the city, you’re going to spend a lot of cash. But if you simply live in the city and travel around casually you’ll find that 50,000 baht (1,500 USD) is enough to purchasing power to really enjoy the city.